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Author Topic: I Love My Guitar Instructor... But I Fear I'm Not Learning Guitar Anymore  (Read 1220 times)

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Offline YoHomie

This story may sound strange, but bear with me:

I've been taking private lessons from a very skilled instructor.  He used to have several students, but then his wife got cervical cancer and he only kept me on as a student because he didn't have time for lots of other students.  I've been with him for some five years now, I started playing guitar from scratch.  His wife has since died, we kind of went through that shit together.

My goals were to be a Blues player of all sorts (Delta, Chicago, Piedmont, etc...), I told him I wanted to be a guitarist, not just a guy who could play a few songs.  He took that to heart and made sure I never really learned any songs specifically, but made sure that I understood why and how the notes were played when they were played.  Now I fear that I've got a Swiss cheese knowledge of theory (I have the minor pentatonic scale down great, but the major scale and how to integrate that is still a mystery), can play lead to anything bluesy (especially if it follows a traditional I-IV-V, or something with a quick change, or maybe  I-IV-V-VII, etc...), I can pick up on any blues tune in any style in any key.  Outside of that, I struggle with using moveable chords, I only sort of get the circle of fifths, struggle using the whole fretboard, getting out of my rut, etc...

I have heard that chatting with a new instructor can be a huge benefit, because I don't think I'm getting anywhere new with my old instructor...  even though we have become best friends over the years.  I think I need fresh talent to help me continue to grow, but how do I make that break?  How to I find the right guy?

Of course my goals have grown to become more than just a blues guitarist, but blues is still my underlying passion.

Has anyone else gone through something similar?  Do you have suggestions?

Offline MrHarryReems

I've gone through a number of instructors over the year, and at some points have had more than one instructor at once.  Not every instructor excels at everything.  It sounds like your instructor has taught you what you've asked him to teach you.  Before you move on, perhaps you can discuss your new goals with him and see if he can accommodate. 

As an instructor myself, I know what I can offer my students.  I can offer them a solid foundation of theory, guitar mechanics, sight reading, improvisation, etc.  I can't offer them help on sweep picking, because that's nowhere in my wheelhouse.  I am also probably not your guy for blooz, because I don't prefer blooz.  If students come to me looking for something that doesn't fit what I can offer, I refer them to someone who can.

Offline TheBuddha

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Maybe it's time for you and your instructor to just become good friends that jam together?

Let's see if this helps?

My formal instruction lasted about 6.5 years. I have since studied with many people, though I haven't given most of them any money - and sometimes they gave me money. That doesn't mean I didn't learn from them, often truckloads of learning went on and did so in both directions.

It could also be that you're at a plateau, and it's not easy to see from the inside but you're probably still learning.

It could also be that it's time for some self-directed learning. There are many, many free resources online - and I've go a stash of 'em here. Just because my formal instruction ended, doesn't mean I didn't keep learning. I'm still learning today.

Have you tried getting out and jamming with other people? They're usually pretty willing to share what they know. There's also short 'master classes' and things you may be able to take - though I don't really count those in the 'formal education' thing. Those are, in my experience, just a day or two long and maybe just a few hours a night for a few nights. Those are also not bad sources for filling in gaps and learning new things.
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